Murphy Oil Guides Higher

It cites a robust performance in refining and retailing.
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In a release that energy investors hope is a sign of things to come,

Murphy Oil

(MUR) - Get Report

guided earnings sharply higher Wednesday, citing a robust performance in its downstream refining and retailing divisions.

Including a gain of 56 cents a share from an asset sale, Murphy expects to earn $1.75 to $1.78 a share in the June quarter. The estimate comes out to $1.19 to $1.22 a share before the gain. On that basis, analysts were forecasting earnings of $1.01 a share in the quarter.

The company expects to earn $60 million in its downstream operations, reflecting strong U.S. retailing and Gulf Coast refining margins and a "meaningful" contribution from the U.K. Upstream, second-quarter production should be 128,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, while sales volume should be 132,000 barrels a day.

Murphy said its total worldwide exploration expense, including dry-hole charges, should average between $40 million and $43 million, including a "significant level of seismic expenditures for peninsular Malaysia during the quarter."

The stock closed regular trading Wednesday at $53.27. In after-hours Instinet trading, Murphy was up $2.18, or 4.1%, to $55.45.